Ever since I was in High School I have had this bizarre and passionate need to defend the pretty and popular people of the world. Pretty is not a superpower. Popular does not make you invincible. Yet, it seems like the pretty and popular are open game to be stereo typed and put down without apology. As if somehow the beautiful ones are not real people just like everyone else. Their trials are often minimized. After all, how can you be miserable if you are smart, popular, and pretty?

Recently I saw a picture on Facebook that said, “I’m showing what a real person looks like on the beach, not Jennifer Aniston.” Well, last time I checked, Jennifer is a real person. I’m sure she has real feelings, real heart break, real passions and she works real hard to keep herself looking the way she does. I know she also has access to be airbrushed and touched up before her pictures are put out to the public. But let’s face it people, she doesn’t really need it. In fact, a friend of mine saw her at a restaurant in New York and said she is hands down the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. He said she was actually MORE beautiful in person.

My own children like to knock the “popular crowd.” I get really angry every time they do. Consider this quote from Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • wickedsexysmart
  • Print Friendly
 by Glennon Doyle Melton (which by-the-way everyone should read because it’s fabulous):

I was a student government officer to a class of close to a thousand. An athlete too. Relatively pretty. Smart. Seemingly confident. My Senior Superlative was “Leading Leader.” I was nominated for homecoming court and hosted pep rallies for four thousand classmates. People who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don’t need help.”

You see, Glennon was both a bulimic binge & purger AND an alcoholic at that time and for many years afterward. She had a desperate hole in her soul and a lack of self worth. Go figure. She is very, very real and very, very human. She is also smart, beautiful & popular.

I strongly relate to Glennon. And I know that part of my defensive passion for the pretty, popular people is a very personal reaction. I hung in that crowd. I was Glennon. I had the hole. I binge drank. I dieted unhealthily. I took diet pills. I attempted suicide. Twice. And all the while I’d get up Monday morning and show up at the school with a smile on my face and almost no one was any the wiser.

I came out one morning to SLUT written in huge letters across my front yard in toilette paper and held down with plastic forks. A+ for creativity and effort to that vandal. My parents made me remove it as neighbors drove by and slowed for a better look. Another on the highlight reel was the time a so called “friend” started a rumor that I had slept with two different people in one weekend. I hadn’t slept with anyone. Lord knows which story the high school believed. A lot of effort went in to knocking me down. If only they had known that I was entirely capable of knocking myself down and in truth, constantly struggling to pull myself off the ground.

As an adult, close friends have had to defend me to acquaintances. The defense was that I was one of the most honest and true friends they have. I didn’t ask what the acquaintance’s opinion of me was in the first place. I simply have no desire to know. What other people think of me is none of my business.

Especially in high school, but generally in life; we are all just treading water. We learn as we go. We make mistakes. We redirect. We move on. But we all hurt, we all celebrate, we all bleed red. Glennon has another great theory she shares,

… I developed a theory that if you are thin and smile a lot, people tend to believe that you have the universe’s secrets in your pocket and that a raindrop has never fallen on your head. If you also happen to be wearing trendy jeans, well then, fuggedaboutit.”

She adds that this theory distresses her. It distresses me too.

The fact of the matter is there are bithcy, nasty people who are beautiful & successful; and there are bitchy, nasty people who are fat; and there are bitchy, nasty people who are ugly. Bitchy & nasty do not discriminate. Neither does joy, love, kindness or happiness. My wish for the entire human race is that you let a person earn your opinion of them before you form it. That we approach others with love and understanding. That we always choose to pick people up rather than push them down.